Post the verdict of Assembly polls in five states, the cracks in the Mahagatbandhan are becoming apparent. A day after Congress-JD(S) rift came to light in Karnataka over MLA Ramesh Jarakiholi’s resignation threat, the grand old party is in the soup once again, this time in Andhra Pradesh.
The state Congress chief, N Raghuveera Reddy, pointed out that majority of the leaders in Andhra Pradesh are opposed to the party high command’s proposal to enter into a pre-poll alliance with the TDP.
The fears of Congress leaders in Andhra Pradesh are not unfounded. Both the TDP and Congress entered into a pre-poll alliance, along with the TJS and CPI parties, for the Assembly Elections in neighbouring state of Telangana. However, the Prajakutami, as the alliance was called, received a massive drubbing winning just 21 of the 119 Assembly seats in Telangana. Congress leaders in Andhra Pradesh dread that they might be confronted with a similar fate when the state goes for polls in the next few months. Andhra Pradesh will hold simultaneous elections for its 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats.
The other reason why Congress leaders are hesitant to enter in a pre-poll alliance is that of the perception of both the parties in the state. The TDP was formed on an anti-Congress platform in 1982 by its founder and former AP chief minister NT Rama Rao. For three decades the parties have been fighting on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Even in this current term of the state government, the Congress has been fighting against the TDP on various issues and its MPs have been complaining against corruption in the state. Senior Congress leaders feel that joining hands with the TDP could now lower the image of the party. The Congress is desperate to capture power in the state.
In 2014 Assembly polls, the party suffered a humiliating defeat and could not win a single seat in Andhra Pradesh as there was a huge resentment among people for bifurcation of Telangana. Hence the party is trying to rebuild its image to come back to power.
With just months to go for the Lok Sabha Polls, the Congress unit in Andhra Pradesh is keenly looking at the contours of the party high command and see if Rahul Gandhi will partner with Chandrababu Naidu once again in the state for the ensuing polls.